Crazy, Not Insane (2020)

Crazy, Not Insane (2020)
  • 389
  • Genre: Biography
  • Release year: 2020 ()
  • Running time: 117 min
  • Original Title: Crazy, Not Insane
  • Voted: 389

An examination of the research by forensic psychiatrist Dorothy Otnow Lewis who investigated the psychology of murderers.

1Richard BurrHimsel
  • Assessing the life and works of psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis by 6

    "Crazy, Not Insane" (2020 release; 117 min.) is a documentary that takes a closer look at the life and works of noted psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis. As the film opens, she explains why she became interested in examining serial killers: "It's like a chance to interview Hitler". Later on she ponders: "Why don't I murder? why don't you murder?" We then go back in time, as Lewis, upon graduating from the Yale School of Medicine, by happenstance becomes involved with juvenile delinquents, and makes a startling discovery that shows a physical difference in the brains of homicidal vs. non-homicidal delinquents... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie.

    Couple of comments: this is the latest film from long-time documentarian Alex Gibney, who just recently released the excellent "Agents of Chaos", and whose prior work also includes 2013's "The Armstrong Lie" and 2015's "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief", among many others. Here he takes a closer look at the (for some: groundbreaking, for others: controversial) work by Dorothy Lewis in the filed of understanding what makes serial killers do what they do. The documentary takes a good half hour to really get going, but after that, we are knee-deep into the core issue: do you accept/believe in the concept of multiple personality disorder, also known as dissociative identity disorder, or not? There are plenty of video clips from Lewis' work in the late 80s-early 90s when Lewis came to the forefront of this issue. It makes for at times fascinating viewing, and while it is pretty clear where Gibney stands in all of this, he gives plenty of space to both sides of the argument. I must say that, given Gibney's considerable reputation as one of the premier documentarians of this generation, I had expected something more, and that this does not rank among his very best work. Not that I think that "Crazy, Not Insane" is "bad" or anything. It's just not a heavyweight like some of his best documentaries.

    "Crazy, Not Insane" was scheduled to premier at this year's SXSW festival in March. Then a little thing call COVID-19 changed the world as we know it (SXSW was canceled). The movie finally premiered at this year's Venice Film Festival in September, and started showing on HBO earlier this week. It is now available on HBO On Demand and other streaming services. If you are a fan of Alex Gibney's work or simply are interested in catching a true crime-reminding documentary, I'd readily suggest you check this out on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.

  • the ironlady with a soft heart by 9

    On the subject dissosiative personality disorder, or the scapegoat to every ''eye for an eye''-fanaticand criminal court systen back in the medeval ages of 1980's and 1990's usa. beloved and hatred for her simple claim that noone is born evil, and that there are always an environmental or medical disorder behind every crime, the worse a crime, the more damaged the perputrator are.having an ethical code that says if your insane you cannot be punished to death by excecution, and that is a roaring cry that should be heard among the medical and justice superiors in every criminal court anywhere.

    its a docu that can make the viewer feel sick, and the mentaly instable turn unstable. because the case descriptions and lots of the material in the cases from real life are so grotesque, graphic and violent in its nature. so beware and behold, its an interesting ride, but can be a bold swallow to take.the grumpy old man recommends

  • Doesn't present as scientifically objective by 4

    Super interesting topic. Not saying her work isn't valid, but how it's presented is one-sided. Knowing it is a highly divisive area of psychology, no scrutinizing opposing views are explored. It's difficult to take the content as unbiased - even if they're on to something. I didn't get anything out of it. The doctor seems like a sweet lady and I do appreciate her humanitarian approach.

  • More Left Wing BS from HBO by 1


    Not five minutes into this BS the woman profiled says to a crazy disgraced former FNC talking head that "evil" is a religious term.


    You lost tme at hello

    HBO has a history of taking a narrative and then finding video to support it.

    This is no exception.

  • A documentary on confirmation bias by 1

    Every suspect examined by Dorothy seems to magically fit into her mold of what DID is, and in turn justify her own existence. The documentary conveniently frames a world around her extreme bias and lack of scientific approach. For example, the doc seemed to have forgotten to mention the fact that Arthur Shawcross would return to the bodies he dumped and made it seem like he would have seizures, kill someone, and wake up not knowing what had happened, even though he would dispose of the body and return for sexual gratification. He also a pathological liar and would play into anything that would benefit him, including playing along with Dorothy's suggestions of DID. It was actually cringeworthy watching a woman romanticize serial killers and then form her own narrative to justify these romantic interests. The rest of the movie follows suit and is a repeat of these blunders. It is no wonder she was never taken seriously in court even though the doc did it's best to frame it as not at all her fault. Great movie to watch if you are interested in seeing how not to be a psychiatrist.

1Ben Bloodwellcinematographer
2Will Batescomposer
3Alex Gibneydirector
4Erin Edeikenproducer
5Ophelia Harutyunyanproducer
6Joey Marraproducer
7Park Dietzself
8Dorothy Lewisself
9Catherine Yeagerself